National Covid-19 Coordination Commission scrutinised

By Mike Seccombe, originally published in the Saturday Paper 16th May 2020. Neville Power, the mining company executive hand-picked by the prime minister to lead the body planning Australia’s recovery in the post-Covid-19 world, was a no-show on Wednesday. And that was a great pity, for the senate select committee established to inquire into the… Read More

Zali Steggall increasingly concerned about Morrison government’s Covid Commission

By Katharine Murphy, originally published in the Guardian 13 May 2020. The independent MP Zali Steggall says she is increasingly concerned about the Morrison government’s influential National Covid Coordination Commission, because there is “no transparency about its governance or processes”. With representatives of the commission to appear before a Senate inquiry to answer questions about… Read More

Calls to end ‘undemocratic adjournment of parliament

By Chris Knaus, originally published in the Guardian 11 May 2020. A former high court judge and public service chief have written to Scott Morrison calling for the full resumption of parliament, saying the current lack of accountability and scrutiny is “undemocratic and unprecedented”. A group of 10 former judges, leading lawyers, integrity experts, and… Read More

Hybrid parliament needed to safeguard Australian democracy during Covid-19 crisis

By Chris Knaus, originally published in the Guardian 28 April 2020. New briefing paper: Parliamentary sittings during COVID-19 crisis. Australia should urgently adopt the United Kingdom parliament’s hybrid model of in-person and online attendance to allow for greater scrutiny of government during the Covid-19 crisis, according to former senior judge and integrity expert Anthony Whealy.… Read More

COVID-19 ministerial powers need to be reined in

By Professor Joo Cheong Tham, originally published in the Canberra Times 27th April 2020. The COVID-19 crisis has seen extraordinary powers conferred upon individual Ministers. Under the Biosecurity Act, the Health Minister has emergency powers to issue requirements to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. The Finance Minister now has at his disposal a… Read More

Democracy remains essential in the COVID-19 pandemic

By Professor Joo Cheong Tham, originally published in the Canberra Times on 13th April 2020. Should democracy be deferred in the COVID-19 pandemic? An unmistakable trend in this crisis has been to highly centralised, expert-driven government decision-making, with less space for democratic deliberation. The Commonwealth Parliament was adjourned to August (until it was recently recalled… Read More

AFR: Government exposed in sports rorts fallout

By Andrew Clark, originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 7th March 2020. A nation consumed with the coronavirus emergency may also soon connect with another political contagion infecting the Morrison government. The issue is the so-called sports rorts affair and the government’s resistance to a push for a tough ICAC-style federal anti-corruption body that… Read More